FIND YOUR PERFECT FITNESS TRACKER

Fitness trackers have taken the world by storm. Fitbit, Garmin and the Apple Watch have become a popular way to incentivise activity and health awareness, and although the technology is still improving, they can be a good way to educate yourself on your habits.

Jill and I are often debating the need for a fitness tracker if you are a highly active person. She loves her Apple Watch 2 and uses it daily for gym sessions and short jogs. We have however drawn the conclusion that if you are an athlete with specific goals, fitness trackers are not necessarily for you. If you are a serious runner rather buy a watch that is specifically for running (or multi-sport). Likewise, if you are a competitive cyclist, you may need way more functionality than a fitness tracker can give you.

 

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN YOUR FITNESS TRACKER

Fitness trackers are a great way to stay or become active and can monitor users’ daily step count, sleep, heart rate and activity levels.

Some fitness trackers are like wristwatches, many come in the form of small, lightweight bands and some can be attached to your ankle or your clothing. Lines are becoming increasingly blurred between fitness trackers and smart watches and I haven’t included pure smart watches here.

You’ll need to consider the following when choosing a fitness tracker:

* Do you want a watch or simply a tracker? If you have a band only, you may need to wear a watch separately.

* Do you need a heartrate monitor? Not all trackers have this functionality. Heartrate monitors increase the accuracy of your measurements e.g. calories burnt.

* Check the expected battery life of your fitness tracker. Compared to smart watches, most trackers have excellent battery life.

* Do you need a GPS? Most fitness trackers are more for encouraging activity than accurate measurement.

* Is waterproofing a factor? A bit of waterproofing may be a good idea in case you get caught in the rain or wet your device while washing your hands. If you’re a swimmer you may need extra waterproofing.

* Is the device supported by a good app? Most of the data of your tracker will be uploaded to an app. It is useful to get a device with an app that integrates with any of your existing apps e.g. my Garmin Connect app integrates with My Fitness Pal so I can track my activity and nutrition in one place.

 

TOP RATED FITNESS TRACKERS

 

MOOV NOW

Watch or tracker: Tracker

Heart rate monitor: No

Battery lifeSix months

GPS: No

Waterproof: Yes

The Moov Now is a great little activity band with a slim design that can be attached to your wrist or ankle. It tracks a wide range of movement from running, cycling, swimming and boxing and has an audible fitness coach.

As a pure activity band, it is not made to be worn all the time and lacks function like a heart rate monitor.  On the plus side it does support sleep tracking.

Available in various colours Price: R1630, GET INFO

 

MISFIT RAY

Watch or tracker: Tracker

Heart rate monitor: No

Battery lifeFour months

GPS: No

Waterproof: Yes

This is a very pretty tracker that looks more like a beautiful accessory and it comes in a host of designs. A coloured LED shows your daily progress towards your goal and the Ray app can log distance, steps, sleep and is waterproof at depths of up to 50 metres.

Once connected to your smartphone, it can also vibrate to show calls and texts coming through, however there is no built-in screen. A simple yet beautiful tracker.

Available in a number of designs and interchangeable straps. Price: From R1150, GET INFO

 

GARMIN VIVOSMART 3

Watch or tracker: Tracker

Heart rate monitor: Yes

Battery life: Five days

GPS: No

Waterproof: Yes

Garmin’s fitness trackers have plenty of functionality and integrate into the detailed Garmin Connect app. With Move IQ, the Vivofit 3 automatically captures different activities such as walking, running, biking, swimming, elliptical and a rep counter to view on the app or desktop.

Other great features include a heart rate monitor, a stress monitor and music controls for your smartphone. But at this price I would expect it to have a GPS.

Available in black or purple. Price: From R3815, GET INFO

 

FITBIT BLAZE

Watch or tracker: Watch

Heart rate monitor: Yes

Battery life: five days

GPS: No (but can connect to your phone)

Waterproof:  only water resistant (up to 10m)

Fitbit’s Blaze is both a fitness tracker and simple smartwatch. While it has very few native apps compared to smartwatches like the Apple Watch, the Blaze offers more fitness functions than many other fitness trackers. It tracks runs, cardio, cross-training, biking and more, and is cheaper than a smart watch.

The Blaze gives notifications for calls, texts or Facebook and the ability to accept or reject calls. However, it doesn’t support other apps like WhatsApp.

Available in small or large face size and various straps. Price: From R4630, GET INFO

 

MY FAVOURITE HEALTH & FITNESS GADGETS

I thought I’d share the health and fitness gadgets that I’m currently using with you.

FOR EVERYDAY

The Withings Activité Pop is a gorgeous watch that also tracks steps and sleep. They say you can wear it for swimming but I found that it isn’t fully waterproof. I bought it mainly for the sleep function as it gives very detailed analysis on your night’s sleep. Pretty enough to wear day-to-day, doesn’t look like a fitness tracker and doesn’t need to be charged.

Nokia has recently bought Withings and have brought out a new watch called the Nokia Steel (R3140) which looks great too.

Available in an array of colours. Price: From R1675, GET INFO

 

FOR SPORT

I use the Garmin Forerunner 920XT. It is a multi-sport watch for triathletes, runners and cyclists. I love this device. It is very reliable and gives a huge number of stats which the nerd in me just adores. The cadence meter in the run function has fundamentally changed the way I run. But it is bulky and not for everyday wear. If you are a runner or cyclist only, think about rather getting specialist devices for these sports.

Available in black with red or blue. Price: From R5820 excluding straps. If you want the full package you’re looking at around R9500, GET INFO

 

IN MY BATHROOM

The Fitbit Aria is a sleek wi-fi connected scale that integrates with the Fitbit app on your phone. If you have a Fitbit fitness tracker you will be able to see your weight and activity on one app. It does have a fat percentage sensor but it is unreliable, don’t buy the scale for this function only.

You obviously need to have wif-fi in your bathroom for this scale to transmit readings to the app. My bathroom has a bit of a “dead zone” but the Aria stores the data and uploads it when it gets signal. It also uploads to other apps like My Fitness Pal.

Available in black and white. Price: From R3860, GET INFO

 

RELATED POST: Is sitting really the new smoking – get up and move. Read it here.

 

 

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